September City Council Meeting Agenda 2016

City of Lawler

414 E. Grove St.

Lawler, IA  52154

AGENDA

REGULAR MEETING

SEPTEMBER 6, 2016                                                             7:00 PM, CITY HALL

 

 

  1. ROLL CALL.
  1. APPROVAL OF AGENDA WITH ANY ADDITIONS.
  1. APPROVAL & CORRECTIONS, IF ANY, OF THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE BILLS PRESENTED TO BE PAID.
  1. MAYORS COMMENTS.
  1. BUSINESS:
  1. PUBLIC HEARING – 7:15 PM – PROPOSED INTENTION TO CONVEY AND TRANSFER PROPERTY.
  1. RESOLUTION – PROPOSING THE CONVEYANCE AND TRANSFER OF PROPERTY.
  1. SHIRLEY KUEHNER – PROPERTY SOUTH OF TOWN.
  1. CAROL HOPP – CHICKASAW CONNECTIONS.
  1. BILL GOSS – VACATION OF ALLEY.
  1. SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION – FREEDOM ROCK.
  1. LAWLER LIONS CLUB.
  1. RESOLUTION – ANNUAL STREET FINANCE REPORT.
  1. BUCKY’S – LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWAL.
  1. CD RENEWAL.
  1. BAT EXTERMINATION ESTIMATE.
  1. DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.
  1. CITY CLERK APPLICATIONS.
  1. ADJOURNMENT.

 

 

August 2016 Lawler City Council Meeting Minutes

The Lawler City Council met in regular session on August 1, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Mayor Mueterthies presided.

Council members present: Izer, King, Scheidel, Throndson & Zubrod.

Others present: Jaden Bruess, Shirl Stone, Diane Bruess, Jacob Bruess, Marshal Rosenbaum, PJ Rosenbaum, Cathy Humpal, Valley Stone Sr., Samantha Stone,  Ashley Ewing, Mike Wilcoxson, Eric Fibikar, Frank Wilson, Don Rosenbaum, Amie Rosenbaum, Roger Dreckman, Ron Myers, Teresa Kehl.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to approve the Agenda.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Zubrod to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and to approve the bills presented to be paid.  All Ayes.

Hawkeye REC Service $22,654.64
Treasurer State of Iowa sales tax  July $1,257.00
United States Treasury FICA, with $1,558.56
IPERS July $1,000.32
Salaries Salaries $6,722.66
Jendro Sanitation July garbage $2,165.76
Post Office Postage $81.00
Windstream July $94.15
Black Hills Energy natural gas $93.23
United Parcel Service shipping $106.73
Chris Lauer tree removal $825.00
ARAWARK rental $86.90
Fehr Graham services – water project $1,654.75
John Deere Credit tractor payment $10,068.00
Ashlynn Hubka deposit refund $75.00
Hawkins water supplies $685.82
Iowa One Call locates $14.40
Quill office supplies $71.99
NEICAC annual donation $329.25
Five Star Coop fuel & supplies $315.33
Five Star Coop LP gas – sewer $356.09
CASH, Inc. fuel & supplies $190.14
Simmering-Cory administrative fees – water project $2,000.00
Iowa Rural Water water class fee $140.00
Terry-Durin Company electric supplies $2,184.00
Iowa DNR wastewater permit fee $210.00
Stanton Electric repairs & change service $1,091.48
Bodensteiner Implement supplies $28.25
     
Total   $56,522.45
     
Library Bills    
     
IPERS July $184.11
Cathy Humpal wages $1,237.28
SHAPE Magazine subscription $9.99
Penworthy books $105.76
Windstream June $85.69
Iowa History Journal subscription $18.95
INGRAM books $86.98
MidAmerica Books books $135.60
Midwest Tape dvd’s $110.20
IPERS July $184.11
Jane Lynch 6 hrs. $48.00
     
Library Total   $2,206.67
     
July Receipts    
General   $871.76
Road Use Tax   $3,458.89
Property Tax   $758.14
Local Option Tax   $2,400.92
Library   $16,502.18
Charges for Services $52,604.78
Park Fundraiser   $58.90
Iowa Finance Authority $30,092.16
     
Total   $106,747.73

Ashley Ewing and Mike Wilcoxson were present to discuss the complaints about their dogs.  Moved by King, seconded by Zubrod that if there are any more complaints about the dogs at 205 S Depot Street some of the dogs will no longer be allowed at the residence.  All Ayes.

Several concerned citizens had complaints about the lack of adequate toilet facilities at the Lawler All-Niter.  The council decided that the Lawler All-Niter will not be allowed in the future without adequate toilet facilities.  Law enforcement for the All-Niter in the future will be looked into.  Law enforcement and toilet facilities for the tournament will be discussed with Jason Byrne the organizer of the tournament.

Ron Myers presented plans for water and sewer service lines to be installed.  Moved by Scheidel, seconded by King to approve the plans from Ron Myers for water and sewer service lines with the approval of Jay Uhlenhake water and wastewater superintendent.  All Ayes.

Moved by Zubrod, seconded by Scheidel to appoint Barb Bentley to the Library Board for a six year term.  All Ayes.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Zubrod to get an estimate on bat extermination for the next meeting.  All Ayes.

The fire department will be selling the tanker truck after the new fire truck is delivered.  Moved by King, seconded by Izer to look into purchasing the tanker truck from the fire department after the new truck is delivered.  All Ayes.

Water rates were discussed with Paul Rosenbaum.

The possibility of the Lions Club putting the fire bell on the city owned lot on Grove Street or  selling the lot to Mary Gitch. was discussed.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to pass resolution #080116 to hold a public hearing on September 6, 2016 at 7:15 PM. for the consideration of selling a city-owned lot on Grove Street to Mary Gitch for $750.00.   All Ayes.

The installation of the new playground equipment was discussed.  Moved by King, seconded by Scheidel to approve the purchase of the supplies needed to install the playground equipment.  All Ayes.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Throndson to allow the trail committee to remove the tree west of the tennis court at Highland Park.  All Ayes.

The engineering fees and the closing out of the well and water main project were discussed.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to renew $10,000 CD investment for six months.  All Ayes.

Delinquent accounts were discussed.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to approve the city clerk job description with one correction and to advertise in the New Hampton Newspapers and the Calmar Courier for the position.  All Ayes.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Scheidel to adjourn the meeting at 9:09 PM.  All Ayes.

_____________________________

Sue Cutsforth, City Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

City of Lawler
414 E. Grove St.
PO Box 215
Lawler, IA  52154
563-238-3614

AGENDA

REGULAR MEETING
AUGUST 1, 2016
7:00 PM, CITY HALL

  1. ROLL CALL.
  1. APPROVAL OF AGENDA WITH ANY ADDITIONS.
  1. APPROVAL & CORRECTIONS, IF ANY, OF THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE BILLS PRESENTED TO BE PAID.
  1. MAYORS COMMENTS.

BUSINESS:
RON MYERS – ESTIMATES ON WATER & SEWER MAINS.
ASHLEY EWING – NUISANCE.
CATHY HUMPAL – APPOINT LIBRARY BOARD MEMBER & BUILDING ISSUE.
PAUL ROSENBAUM – WATER RATES.
PAUL ROSENBAUM – LAWLER ALL-NITER.
ENGINEERING FEES FOR WATER PROJECT.
CITY PROPERTY SOUTH OF TOWN.
LOT ON GROVE STREET.
LIONS CLUB – FIRE BELL.
FIRE DEPARTMENT TANKER TRUCK.
PARK BOARD.
CD RENEWAL.
DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.
CITY CLERK JOB DESCRIPTION.

ADJOURNMENT.

City Council Special Session Minutes–July 18, 2016

The Lawler City Council met in special session on July 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Mayor Mueterthies presided.

Council members present: Izer, King, Scheidel, Throndson & Zubrod.

Others present: Dianna Gebel.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Scheidel to approve the Agenda.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Zubrod to set the hours for the City Clerk position at:  9:00 am – 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Monday – Friday plus meetings.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Throndson to set the wages for the City Clerk position at $16.00 per hour with a 90 day review.  Ayes – Izer, King, Scheidel and Throndson.  Nays – Zubrod.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Scheidel for the vacation, sick time and paid holidays terms for the City Clerk position to be as for current employees with the exceptions of:  sick time and vacation must be used in the year given or there will be no compensation and comp time will be deleted.  Ayes – Izer, King and Throndson.  Nays – Scheidel and Zubrod.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by King to make the requirements for the City Clerk position as follows:  An equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform essential functions of the position.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Izer to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 PM.  All Ayes.

____________________________

Sue Cutsforth, City Clerk

July 2016 City Council Meeting Minutes

The Lawler City Council met in regular session on July 5, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Mayor Mueterthies presided.

Council members present: Izer, King, Scheidel, Throndson & Zubrod.

Others present: Ron Myers, Jason Byrne, Tony Blazek, Jerry Vrzak, Kurt Croell & Mike Murray.

Moved by King, seconded by Izer to approve the Agenda with the addition of Ron Myers discussion of building permit, water and sewer service.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Izer to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and to approve the bills presented to be paid.  All Ayes.

Hawkeye REC Service $15,230.05
Treasurer State of Iowa sales tax  June $1,270.00
United States Treasury FICA, with $1,533.76
IPERS June $987.85
Salaries Salaries $6,638.82
Jendro Sanitation June garbage $2,146.20
Post Office Postage $147.45
Windstream June $98.47
Black Hills Energy natural gas $103.82
United Parcel Service shipping $78.97
Iowa Dept. of Inspections food stand permit $33.50
ARAWARK rental $86.90
Fehr Graham services – water project $147.50
Bodensteiner Imp. supplies $63.06
Deb Zubrod food stand supplies $226.00
New Hampton Tribune proceedings $83.73
TestAmerica water & wastewater testing $98.70
Hawkins water supplies $486.22
Wellmark health insurance $2,146.35
Clerk of Court small claim $95.00
David Pepper refund $11.60
Blacktop Service Company street seal coating $25,751.91
Floyd Mitchell Landfill TV monitor disposal $58.00
Iowa League of Cities annual dues $414.00
Chickasaw County Auditor haz-mat $219.50
Chickasaw County Auditor drive-thru patrol $3,292.50
City of Lawler electric at lift station $468.75
Office Depot office supplies $77.84
Mid-American Research lagoon supplies $686.35
APC PLAY playground equipment $26,292.00
Lawler Fire Dept. semi-annual allotment $2,756.25
Iowa Workforce Development unemployment $19.92
Treasurer State of Iowa withholding $804.00
Iowa DNR water supply fee $50.99
Helping Services annual donation $100.00
     
Total   $93,167.96
     
Library Bills    
     
IPERS June $176.21
Cathy Humpal wages $877.17
HGTV Magazine subscription $34.97
Penworthy books $92.41
Windstream May $88.95
The Courier subscription $91.85
INGRAM books $280.07
DEMCO equipment $1,116.82
Lawler Public Library petty cash – postage & supplies $70.02
United States Treasury FICA withholding $973.04
Treasurer State of Iowa withholding $110.00
     
Library Total   $3,911.51
     
June Receipts    
General   $869.88
Road Use Tax   $4,117.91
Property Tax   $1,280.53
Local Option Tax   $2,400.92
Library   $559.82
Charges for Services $40,731.78
Park Fundraiser   $787.22
     
Total   $50,748.06

Tony Blazek from the Lawler Irish Fest reported that the Irish Fest had a good turnout this year and everything went real well.

Jason Byrne informed the council that the Lawler All-Niter will be the same number of teams as last year.  Jason is collecting a deposit for the campsites that will be refunded if the campsites are cleaned up.  Gates or the dump truck will be used to stop the pedestrian traffic as last year.

Jerry Vrzak was present to discuss utility deposits.  Moved by Scheidel, seconded by King to require a $100 utility deposit for customers that pay for only two utility services, the deposit for all others will be $150.  Ayes – Izer, King. Scheidel & Throndson.  Nays – Zubrod.

Ron Myers has plans to build a house and inquired about water and sewer mains.  There will be estimates on the cost of the water and sewer mains and it will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to have the sheriff talk to the residents at 205 S Depot Street about the violation of City Code in regard to the number of dogs in the household.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel. seconded by Izer to send notice to the residents of 102 S Lincoln Street that the camper on the property must have current license or be removed from the property.  All Ayes.

Midwest Assistance Program was discussed.  It will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by King to approve payment estimate #6 in the amount of $3,300.29 and payment estimate $7-final in the amount of $26,389.87 from Blazek Corporation for Well #2 and Water Main Improvement Project.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Zubrod to accept the project construction of the Well #2 and Water Main Improvement Project.  All Ayes.

Discussion of City property south of town was tabled for the next meeting.

The City owned lot on Grove Street will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Izer to approve the Hole in the Wall liquor license renewal.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Zubrod to withdraw 2 – $5,000 investment CD’s.  The funds will be used as extra payment on the tractor.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Zubrod to reinvest $5,000 sewer fund investment CD for 30 months.  All Ayes.

Requests for proposals for the City Annual Exam from Dennis Donovan, PC and Shaffer Company, PC were reviewed.  Moved by Izer, seconded by Zubrod to accept the proposal in the amount of $3,000 from Dennis Donovan, PC for the City Annual Exam.  All Ayes.

Delinquent accounts were discussed.  Disconnect notices will be sent.

Moved by King, seconded by Izer to move into closed session to discuss the City Clerk position at the request of Sue Cutsforth.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by King to move out of closed session.  All Ayes.

Moved by Izer for the retirement of Sue Cutsforth on September 30, 2016.  Motion died for lack of second.

Moved by King, seconded by Scheidel for the retirement of Sue Cutsforth on November 30, 2016.  Ayes – Izer, King, Scheidel and Zubrod.  Nays – Throndson.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to adjourn the meeting at 10:50 PM.  All Ayes.

_____________________________

Sue Cutsforth, City Clerk

Special City Council Meeting–July 18, 2016

 

AGENDA

SPECIAL MEETING

JULY 18, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

CITY HALL

  1. ROLL CALL.
  1. APPROVAL WITH ANY ADDITIONS OF AGENDA.
  1. BUSINESS:
  1. CITY CLERK JOB DESCRIPTION.
  1. ADJOURNMENT.

July 2016 City Council Agenda

City of Lawler
414 E. Grove St.
PO Box 215
Lawler, IA  52154
563-238-3614

AGENDA

REGULAR MEETING–JULY 5, 2016–7:00 PM, CITY HALL

ROLL CALL.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA WITH ANY ADDITIONS.

APPROVAL & CORRECTIONS, IF ANY, OF THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS AND APPROVAL OF THE BILLS PRESENTED TO BE PAID.

MAYORS COMMENTS.

BUSINESS:

  • LAWLER IRISH FEST COMMITTEE.
  • LAWLER ALL-NITER – JASON BYRNE.
  • ASHLEY EWING – NUISANCE.
  • NUISANCE – CAMPER AT 102 S LINCOLN STREET.
  • MIDWEST ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.
  • JERRY VRZAK – UTILITY DEPOSITS.
  • WELL #2 AND WATER MAIN PROJECT – ACCEPTANCE OF PROJECT CONSTRUCTION.
  • APPROVAL OF PAYMENT ESTIMATE #6 AND #7 FROM BLAZEK CORPORATION ON WELL #2 AND WATER MAIN PROJECT.
  • CITY PROPERTY SOUTH OF TOWN.
  • LOT ON GROVE STREET.
  • HOLE IN THE WALL – LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWAL.
  • ANNUAL EXAM – CPA PROPOSALS.
  • DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.
  • CITY CLERK POSITION.

ADJOURNMENT.

 

 

June 2016 City Council Meeting Minutes

The Lawler City Council met in regular session on June 6, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

Mayor Mueterthies presided.

Council members present: Izer, King, Scheidel, Throndson & Zubrod.

Others present: Mike Murray, Deb Merrill, Tony Blazek, Lucas Elsbernd, Roger Dreckman and Mary Gruenberg.

Moved by King, seconded by Zubrod to approve the Agenda with the additions of the Irish Fest Committee and Mary Gruenberg discussion of nuisance.  All Ayes.

Moved by Scheidel, seconded by Throndson to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and to approve the bills presented to be paid.  All Ayes.

Hawkeye REC Service $15,220.77
Treasurer State of Iowa sales tax  May $986.00
United States Treasury FICA, with $1,533.72
IPERS May $987.85
Salaries Salaries $6,638.82
Jendro Sanitation May garbage $2,167.96
Post Office Postage $74.47
Windstream May $90.70
Black Hills Energy natural gas $127.45
United Parcel Service shipping $101.00
Post Office box rent $52.00
ARAWARK rental $86.90
Fehr Graham services – water project $254.50
Bodensteiner Imp. blade $56.04
Heartland Asphalt cold mix $535.62
New Hampton Tribune proceedings $336.73
TestAmerica water & wastewater testing $185.85
Hawkins water supplies $345.58
Blazek Corporation park curbstop $271.25
Stanton Electric electric pole & repairs $924.57
Paul Niemann Const. rock $78.36
Anderson, Wilmarth Law Firm legal fees $850.00
Roger Dreckman Construction clean brush – park $1,125.00
Pollard pest control $54.50
Team Lab supplies – sewer $1,508.50
CASH, Inc. park fence, supplies & fuel $1,783.44
Five Star Coop fuel-April $72.20
Iowa Finance Authority sewer loan payment $32,742.50
Iowa Finance Authority water loan payment $18,623.29
Lawler Public Library cleaning reimbursement $412.82
Rosenbaum Auto stump grinding $136.00
Five Star Coop fuel & lp tank at lift station $956.31
Total   $89,782.70
     
Library Bills    
     
IPERS May $178.81
Cathy Humpal wages $888.22
do it yourself subscription $21.37
Penworthy books $112.27
Windstream April $85.94
Midwest Tape dvd’s $71.97
INGRAM books $166.54
Food Network Magazine subscription $39.97
House Beautiful subscription $32.07
Cathy Humpal insurance reimbursement $750.00
     
Library Total   $2,347.16
     
May Receipts    
General   $1,229.06
Road Use Tax   $2,941.68
Property Tax   $3,667.96
Local Option Tax   $3,040.57
Transfer of Jurisdiction-County $1,905.28
Charges for Services $42,143.44
CDBG-water   $6,000.00
State Revolving Fund-water $33,032.40
     
Total   $93,960.39

Lucas Elsbernd from Fehr Graham Engineering explained the costs for the water project and the change order reduction.  Moved by Izer, seconded by Throndson to approve change order #3 from Blazek Corporation for Well #2 and Water Main Project with a reduction of $17,665.98.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Izer to approve a variance to Eric Njus for his house at 306 W Grove Street  provided that the Board of Adjustment approves the variance.  This is being granted due to survey discrepancies.  All Ayes.

The Lawler Irish Fest  requested that the east side of the hardware store building be blocked off during the Irish Fest for a car show.  Moved by King, seconded by Scheidel to approve the east side of the hardware store building to be blocked off for a car show during the Irish Fest.  All Ayes.

The Lawler Irish Fest requested a larger tent be used this year during the fest.  It will be located 12 ft. further north and 8 ft. further south than previous years. Moved by King, seconded by Izer to allow the larger tent for the fest as presented.  All Ayes.

The Lawler Fire Department requested using Croell Park for kids water ball on the Saturday of the Irish Fest.  Moved by Izer, seconded by Zubrod to approve the use of Croell Park for kids water ball on the Saturday of the Irish Fest.  All Ayes.

Mary Gruenberg had a complaint about the number of dogs at the residence and the excessive barking caused by the dogs in at 205 S Depot Street.  There have also been other complaints from residents about this.  Moved by King, seconded by Throndson to send the residents at 205 S Depot Street a letter to remedy the excessive barking from their dogs and comply with City Code on the number of dogs owned within seven to ten days.  All Ayes.

The council answered questions that Mike Murray and Deb Merrill had about the new discontinuance of service and utility deposit policies.

Moved by King, seconded by Zubrod to approve the Utility Deposit Policy, Discontinuance of Service Policy, letter to landlords regarding new utility policies and letter to residents regarding new utility policies.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Izer to contact Shirley Kuehner about the possible conveyance of property south of town that is owned by the City.  All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Scheidel to allow Pat & JoAnne Costigan to display the old fire bell.  An agreement will be signed stating that the City will maintain ownership of the bell and if they no longer wish to display it, it will be returned to the City.  All Ayes.

The park budget has all been used for this fiscal year so the City will not be able to contribute to the trail or park committee this fiscal year.

Cathy Humpal will continue to clean the bathrooms, hallway and meeting room as needed.

Moved by Izer, seconded by Throndson to send requests for proposals to three CPA firms to conduct an annual exam as required by the Auditor of the State.  These proposals will be accepted until July 5, 2016.  All Ayes.

Moved by Izer, seconded by King to approve a 2% salary increase for Jay Uhlenhake.   All Ayes.

Moved by King, seconded by Throndson to approve a 2% salary increase for Sue Cutsforth.  Ayes -King & Throndson.  Nays- Izer, Scheidel & Zubrod.  Jay Uhlenhake $51,305.54, Sue Cutsforth $29,366.28.

Delinquent accounts were discussed.  Payment agreements as presented were approved.

Moved by Zubrod, seconded by Throndson to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 PM.  All Ayes.

______________________________

Sue Cutsforth, City Clerk

Memorial Day in Lawler 2003

Author’s Note: This is one of my favorite stories from “Depot Street Memories-The Lawler Stories” (available as an e-book on Amazon.com for 3 bucks)

 There were countless patriotic ceremonies conducted throughout the United States this past week. Some attracted dignitaries and politicians who delivered rousing oratories produced by paid speechwriters. Others featured elite military bands, F-16 flyovers, and elaborate stages designed for a television audience.

But not one of them could have been more moving to this northeast Iowa native than the traditional gathering conducted in Lawler—the home of my youth.

My wife Renee and I had driven up from our Des Moines area home on Sunday to celebrate the high school graduation of our niece in Fort Atkinson. That evening I suggested to her that we get up early on Monday, visit the cemeteries of our respective families, and get to Lawler in time for the Memorial Services in the city park.

Although I moved away from the community in 1964 at the age of twenty, there have always been wonderful memories of my childhood there. Many are directly connected to the small piece of ground just north of the tracks next to the lumberyard. There were pick-up baseball and football games with the Scallys, Timlins, McGreeveys, and Leonards. Ice skating on cold January evenings when they flooded the area for us. A berry tree on the east end that bore fruit for the taking. And the Memorial Day parade in which soldiers from World Wars I and II and Korea marched from the Legion Hall three blocks west on Main Street to the corner with the fire bell by the lumberyard. They turned north for one-half block and entered the park. The ex-military men seemed old to me then because I was so young.

My friends and I eagerly anticipated the 21-gun salute so we could dive for the empty shell cases. Paul Junko always got there first and got the most. The rest of us begrudgingly respected his courage and timing.

And even though I never fully understood the full significance of the pageantry, I knew instinctively at some level that it was important for me to be there. Then a simple request was made by a teacher, Alice Costigan, during my freshman year in high school. “Bill, will you recite In Flanders Field in the park on Memorial Day?”

“Of course,” I agreed. “I would be honored to do so.”

And I have never taken the day for granted since. Too old to dive for shells and too young to understand the horrors of war—I memorized that wonderful poem about the dead asking to be remembered by the living, and it somehow changed my life. For the first time I really began to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made. Military men and women who survived and those who did not. Lives were given so that my family and friends could live in a free society. In New York or Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. or Chicago. Or Lawler, Iowa. And it moved me in a way that I had not been moved before.

Until this past week, thirty-nine years have passed since I last experienced the ceremony in person. However, every year I have thought of and thanked God for them—the brave soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen from Lawler.

Going back might have been one of those letdowns that occur when you return decades later.  The creek bed that’s not quite as wide or deep as you remembered. The buildings not as tall. The people not as friendly.

But it was not a disappointment. Rather, I was quietly overwhelmed with emotion as the veterans—who didn’t seem quite so old now that I am 59—marched west on Main Street. The building where they congregated to prepare for the march is no longer known as the Legion Hall. The fire bell on the corner has long since been dismantled. But they still marched with pride and dignity. With a sense of purpose. I watched as my cousin Jack McKone carried one of the flags. I heard the Turkey Valley band play God Bless America. And I stood there with a lump in my throat as they turned north at the west end of the lumberyard for one-half block and entered the park. Men, women, and children stood with hands over hearts, each bearing secret thoughts and memories of their own.

And then a young man stood on the bandstand overlooking the hushed assembled and began to recite, “In Flanders Field the poppies blow…beneath the crosses row on row…”

I thought of Alice Costigan and Paul Junko and soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen. And days in the park as a child. And more recent wars in Vietnam and Kuwait and Iraq.

As he finished the poem, tear drops unashamedly fell down my face. At that moment there is no place in the world I would rather have been on a beautiful sun-lit morning than in Lawler, Iowa.

On Memorial Day.

(Published in the New Hampton Tribune – June 6, 2003)

and

(Published in The Draft Horse Journal – Spring 2004)

Author’s Note: This is one of my favorite stories from “Depot Street Memories-The Lawler Stories” (available as an e-book on Amazon.com for 3 bucks)

Memorial Day in Lawler 2003
There were countless patriotic ceremonies conducted throughout the United States this past week. Some attracted dignitaries and politicians who delivered rousing oratories produced by paid speechwriters. Others featured elite military bands, F-16 flyovers, and elaborate stages designed for a television audience.
But not one of them could have been more moving to this northeast Iowa native than the traditional gathering conducted in Lawler—the home of my youth.
My wife Renee and I had driven up from our Des Moines area home on Sunday to celebrate the high school graduation of our niece in Fort Atkinson. That evening I suggested to her that we get up early on Monday, visit the cemeteries of our respective families, and get to Lawler in time for the Memorial Services in the city park.
Although I moved away from the community in 1964 at the age of twenty, there have always been wonderful memories of my childhood there. Many are directly connected to the small piece of ground just north of the tracks next to the lumberyard. There were pick-up baseball and football games with the Scallys, Timlins, McGreeveys, and Leonards. Ice skating on cold January evenings when they flooded the area for us. A berry tree on the east end that bore fruit for the taking. And the Memorial Day parade in which soldiers from World Wars I and II and Korea marched from the Legion Hall three blocks west on Main Street to the corner with the fire bell by the lumberyard. They turned north for one-half block and entered the park. The ex-military men seemed old to me then because I was so young.
My friends and I eagerly anticipated the 21-gun salute so we could dive for the empty shell cases. Paul Junko always got there first and got the most. The rest of us begrudgingly respected his courage and timing.
And even though I never fully understood the full significance of the pageantry, I knew instinctively at some level that it was important for me to be there. Then a simple request was made by a teacher, Alice Costigan, during my freshman year in high school. “Bill, will you recite In Flanders Field in the park on Memorial Day?”
“Of course,” I agreed. “I would be honored to do so.”
And I have never taken the day for granted since. Too old to dive for shells and too young to understand the horrors of war—I memorized that wonderful poem about the dead asking to be remembered by the living, and it somehow changed my life. For the first time I really began to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made. Military men and women who survived and those who did not. Lives were given so that my family and friends could live in a free society. In New York or Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. or Chicago. Or Lawler, Iowa. And it moved me in a way that I had not been moved before.
Until this past week, thirty-nine years have passed since I last experienced the ceremony in person. However, every year I have thought of and thanked God for them—the brave soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen from Lawler.
Going back might have been one of those letdowns that occur when you return decades later. The creek bed that’s not quite as wide or deep as you remembered. The buildings not as tall. The people not as friendly.
But it was not a disappointment. Rather, I was quietly overwhelmed with emotion as the veterans—who didn’t seem quite so old now that I am 59—marched west on Main Street. The building where they congregated to prepare for the march is no longer known as the Legion Hall. The fire bell on the corner has long since been dismantled. But they still marched with pride and dignity. With a sense of purpose. I watched as my cousin Jack McKone carried one of the flags. I heard the Turkey Valley band play God Bless America. And I stood there with a lump in my throat as they turned north at the west end of the lumberyard for one-half block and entered the park. Men, women, and children stood with hands over hearts, each bearing secret thoughts and memories of their own.
And then a young man stood on the bandstand overlooking the hushed assembled and began to recite, “In Flanders Field the poppies blow…beneath the crosses row on row…”
I thought of Alice Costigan and Paul Junko and soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen. And days in the park as a child. And more recent wars in Vietnam and Kuwait and Iraq.
As he finished the poem, tear drops unashamedly fell down my face. At that moment there is no place in the world I would rather have been on a beautiful sun-lit morning than in Lawler, Iowa.
On Memorial Day.
(Published in the New Hampton Tribune – June 6, 2003)
and
(Published in The Draft Horse Journal – Spring 2004)

Author’s Note: This is one of my favorite stories from “Depot Street Memories-The Lawler Stories” (available as an e-book on Amazon.com for 3 bucks)

 

Memorial Day in Lawler 2003

There were countless patriotic ceremonies conducted throughout the United States this past week. Some attracted dignitaries and politicians who delivered rousing oratories produced by paid speechwriters. Others featured elite military bands, F-16 flyovers, and elaborate stages designed for a television audience.

But not one of them could have been more moving to this northeast Iowa native than the traditional gathering conducted in Lawler—the home of my youth.

My wife Renee and I had driven up from our Des Moines area home on Sunday to celebrate the high school graduation of our niece in Fort Atkinson. That evening I suggested to her that we get up early on Monday, visit the cemeteries of our respective families, and get to Lawler in time for the Memorial Services in the city park.

Although I moved away from the community in 1964 at the age of twenty, there have always been wonderful memories of my childhood there. Many are directly connected to the small piece of ground just north of the tracks next to the lumberyard. There were pick-up baseball and football games with the Scallys, Timlins, McGreeveys, and Leonards. Ice skating on cold January evenings when they flooded the area for us. A berry tree on the east end that bore fruit for the taking. And the Memorial Day parade in which soldiers from World Wars I and II and Korea marched from the Legion Hall three blocks west on Main Street to the corner with the fire bell by the lumberyard. They turned north for one-half block and entered the park. The ex-military men seemed old to me then because I was so young.

My friends and I eagerly anticipated the 21-gun salute so we could dive for the empty shell cases. Paul Junko always got there first and got the most. The rest of us begrudgingly respected his courage and timing.

And even though I never fully understood the full significance of the pageantry, I knew instinctively at some level that it was important for me to be there. Then a simple request was made by a teacher, Alice Costigan, during my freshman year in high school. “Bill, will you recite In Flanders Field in the park on Memorial Day?”

“Of course,” I agreed. “I would be honored to do so.”

And I have never taken the day for granted since. Too old to dive for shells and too young to understand the horrors of war—I memorized that wonderful poem about the dead asking to be remembered by the living, and it somehow changed my life. For the first time I really began to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made. Military men and women who survived and those who did not. Lives were given so that my family and friends could live in a free society. In New York or Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. or Chicago. Or Lawler, Iowa. And it moved me in a way that I had not been moved before.

Until this past week, thirty-nine years have passed since I last experienced the ceremony in person. However, every year I have thought of and thanked God for them—the brave soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen from Lawler.

Going back might have been one of those letdowns that occur when you return decades later.  The creek bed that’s not quite as wide or deep as you remembered. The buildings not as tall. The people not as friendly.

But it was not a disappointment. Rather, I was quietly overwhelmed with emotion as the veterans—who didn’t seem quite so old now that I am 59—marched west on Main Street. The building where they congregated to prepare for the march is no longer known as the Legion Hall. The fire bell on the corner has long since been dismantled. But they still marched with pride and dignity. With a sense of purpose. I watched as my cousin Jack McKone carried one of the flags. I heard the Turkey Valley band play God Bless America. And I stood there with a lump in my throat as they turned north at the west end of the lumberyard for one-half block and entered the park. Men, women, and children stood with hands over hearts, each bearing secret thoughts and memories of their own.

And then a young man stood on the bandstand overlooking the hushed assembled and began to recite, “In Flanders Field the poppies blow…beneath the crosses row on row…”

I thought of Alice Costigan and Paul Junko and soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen. And days in the park as a child. And more recent wars in Vietnam and Kuwait and Iraq.

As he finished the poem, tear drops unashamedly fell down my face. At that moment there is no place in the world I would rather have been on a beautiful sun-lit morning than in Lawler, Iowa.

On Memorial Day.

(Published in the New Hampton Tribune – June 6, 2003)

and

(Published in The Draft Horse Journal – Spring 2004)

Bill Sheridan

Brother Pat’s Big Catch

(This little story comes from Depot Street Memories…The Lawler Stories, available as an e-book on Amazon.Com for $3)

            Patrick was ten years old at the time. Since he is two years and two days older than me, I was eight on that sunny July 1952 afternoon.

            He was fishing off the roof of our back porch on the east side of the house with a cane pole and bare hook, as was his habit. No night crawler was necessary since the nearest body of water was at least three miles from our home. Brother Pat was ‘pretend fishing’ by trying to grab the clothesline near the southeast corner of our house. Whenever successful in the venture, he shouted to the world, “I got one!”

            Luck was on his side as he felt a tug on the line which he had blindly tossed out over the edge of the porch roof. He gave a powerful yank on the fishing line giving out an extra exuberant yelp, “I got one! I got one! I got a really big one!”

            Unfortunately for me, my luck was not as good as Pat’s. I had just stepped down from the porch when I felt a sharp pain in my left ear, and my head inexplicably began to rise.

In a split second, a fish hook was deeply imbedded in my outer ear. Patrick had not caught the clothesline. Patrick had snagged little brother Billy, and tried to haul his 89-pound trophy in until he heard me screaming.

            Now we had a serious problem. Mom was in Waucoma about seven miles away running the family locker business. The nearest doctors were in New Hampton or Fredericksburg, each approximately eight miles away. Even had there been a car at home, no one around was old enough to drive it.

            Fisherman Patrick suddenly morphed into First Responder Patrick and came up with the only solution we could think of, “Let’s go see John Costigan!”

            To this day I have no idea how he knew to do that. But it was the perfect answer. John had been in the service and must have had some training as a medic. We ran the three blocks to his business on the west end of downtown. Pat was terrified and I was crying as blood streamed out of my ear, where the hook remained buried.

            Thank God, John was not concerned about practicing medicine without a license. He calmly took a jackknife out of his pocket and proceeded to extricate the hook from my ear. After wiping the blood off my cheek, he sent both of us home with a recommendation that Pat try his luck next time at Crane Creek rather than in our land-locked back yard.

            As I write this, it’s been fifty-seven years since Pat tried to pull in that prize fish with his non-baited cane pole.

And it’s also been fifty-seven years since I’ve gotten within a hundred yards of him whenever I see a pole in his hands.

I have no desire to be mounted on the wall of his home office.

(Bill Sheridan)

 

 

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